¾The Victorious Christian Life¾
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
We are accustomed to speak of the Christian life under different figures sometimes described as a “ Pilgrimage”, and with staff in hand and equipped for a long and continuous journey the pilgrim is to set his face toward the goal and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling”. Phil 3:14
Sometimes the Christian walk of life is described as a race that is to be run, in which the competitor must strip himself, laying aside every weight; then “run with patience the race that is set before him”. Hebrews 12:1
Sometimes the Christian walk is referred to as being a “Soldier” enlisted for duty. Hear Paul’s admonition to young Timothy (2 Tim. 2:3-4) “3You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier”.
I know as we speak that there are those who think of the Christian life as though it were soft and easy. But in all these figures there is suggestion of effort and of difficulty.
As we consider the words of our text there is a suggestion of both conflict and victory ¾
In verse 12 the enemies are all recognized: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Again the equipment of the soldier is perfectly described in verses 14-18 - “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
What is the issue at hand “and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore”
These words when read alone, have a thrill of power in them, but I have stated them now, knowing that the passage was read in full and is in your memory. I repeat these words —
“and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore”
The admonition is not one of uncertainty, the soldier must recognize that he is not playing at a game of battle, He is "to put on the whole armor of God" (verse-11), but he is also "to take up the whole armor of God." (verse-13). To simply put on, to adorn oneself ¾ might be for a military parade, or a military review.... but to take up the whole armor, is for actual battle . The victory assured for those who adorn themselves in Christian armor
“and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore”
Many times the question is asked especially among our youth.....”I’m not sure that I can live the Christian life... Is it really possible for me to do so”?
All to often the inquirer decides the victory cannot be won and thus the attempt never is never made. We seek the testimony of others buy to often from those who are struggling in the battle themselves. We become discouraged, seeing and hearing stories of others struggles. Thus are convinced the Christian life cannot be fought and won.
Do not trust the testimony of these, do not look to the faltering lives of others who have failed. If you would answer the question. Make the great adventure. Learn the conditions and come to the final proof in your own life.
“and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore”
I want to speak to you of three things in our study. First : the nature of those involved in conflict as described in this passage. Next a picture of our great enemy ¾ And last the conditions described in the passage, to assure victory— For if these are not met, defeat is sure to follow!
I begin with this statement. “Perhaps the greatest cause of our failure to be victorious is a misunderstanding regarding the nature of those in conflict “. And for this reason I begin with the nature of those involved: In order to discover it we must first inquire to whom were these words addressed. Not all are involved in this conflict¾ to find those addressed I go back to the beginning of the letter. I read Ephesians 1:1
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus
Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at
The phrases "the saints" and "the faithful" does not mean those who are above falling ¾ or sin. But describes those have been called by the gospel , set apart, and who are living the deepest principles of faith. Those who walk by faith not by sight "To the saints…. and the faithful in Christ Jesus."
This Then Is The Preliminary Condition. The phrases “and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore” have no meaning no application — to any other than the Christian soldier.
I won’t deal with this at any length just now, but simply remind you that the writer states in this particular letter that those who wrestle against principalities and powers, that the soldiers who enter into conflict are “the saints….and the faithful in Christ Jesus” And again note the opening phrase of this final admonition ¾
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. So my first statement is that it is impossible to know the nature of the conflict, or to test the accuracy of the statement given until you have become a Christian a child of God. “In Christ” is the phrase I would have you notice.
The 2nd matter of importance is that of those who are in Christ, are involved in a responsibility. In the opening chapters the apostle shows that the ultimate meaning of Christian life is found in what we are called to do. Ephesians 1:4-5
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”,
Throughout the opening words emphasis is upon Responsibility..... Note next Eph 4:1
1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called
1Therefore be followers of God as dear children. 2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma..
And so the letter runs on until presently he says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” Ephesians 6:10.
The life of a Christian is not one of delicate softness. It is one of stern conflict, and for those who are called into our Lord’s cause have present responsibilities. These create the conflict with our ENEMY.
Well let us notice the apostolic description of the enemies, Ephesians 6:12
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places
The Child of God is one who is a soldier and in conflict, ( I repeat it for emphasis) in conflict “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.
The conflict is one between the saints of God and devilish forces that touch the spiritual life, that wrestle with men to prevent them from achieving their spiritual goals.
Beloved ¾have we greatly under rated the Devil? He entered the human drama as a "Deceiver" "more subtle than any beast of the field" (Gen. 3:1). Perhaps his greatest deceit has been his ability to influence human affairs all of these years without showing himself and being taken seriously.
He knows that unlimited progress can be made if one does not care who gets the credit. - Satan has been perfectly willing to do the damage and allow us to assign credit to things as: circumstance, heredity, human nature, and psychological maladjustment.
He has successfully passed himself off as a harmless, mythical clown in a red suit whose most potent weapon is a pitchfork. The enormous degree to which we believe him shows both how gullible we are, and attribute to his power.
The scriptures treat him with greater respect, Paul describes the devil as "an angel of light" Peter describes the devil as a "roaring lion." Jesus refers to him as the "prince of this world."
Each description suggest a different method adopted for the special occasion. Transformed into an angel of light to deceive if it be possible even the very elect. Appearing as a ferocious lion overwhelming those who let down their guards. He appears as the prince of this world, offering to man all the kingdoms for a moment's homage, coming with the method necessary to entrap and enslave them to sin and death.
Defeat is certain unless we wake up to the fact that we are dealing with SATAN , the father of all lies, and chief of deceit. The great beguiler who in the beginning deceived our original parents in the garden. And so the apostle encourages us ¾
“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
There's the enemy! and the solution for victory.
3rd What then is the armor of the Christian? ¾ Before we look at the verses, In 2 Cor 10 there is a parenthetical statement that goes straight to the heart of the matter and establishes the principle I should like to address now. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 states:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh”, Watch it , now comes Verse 4 and is a parenthesis:
4(for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), 5casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
Our weapons are not carnal weapons ¾ not worldly things, but rather spiritual. Now turn to our text: Ephesians 6:13-18 and look at the particulars of this armor. Each of these particulars are vitally important, and a sermon in and of themselves that needs preaching often.. (Please Study These Verses).
We are never more vulnerable than when we leave off our armor forgetting the great enemy. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”.
The conflict¾ is between Satan and each of us! Satan touches the lives- wrestles with every man and woman who is enlisted in the service of the Lord in order to prevent us from realizing our ultimate goal ¾ victory and salvation of our souls.
What will the final outcome of that conflict be? That is the question I want you to ask and to decide. Some of you have known battle so long that it is needless that I dwell upon it, But to others I want to say, to be a Christian means definite conflict with the wicked powers ¾
When you accepted Christ, you declared war with Satan. Often times one will ask: "How is it since I have given my life to Christ, I have been more sorely tempted than before? " You began wrestling against principalities¾ and against powers when you became a Christian.
4th- Conditions for assured victory are laid down in our text¾
First complete surrender to Christ¾ Our power, our virtue is in Christ. A powerful verse many have made their motto for life”
Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
If you are not in Christ. You do not and cannot enjoy all the spiritual blessings Eph 1:3
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
After we get in Christ, we must take up and put on the whole armor of God. A poignant passage which helps this is found in 2 Peter 1:5-11 (ASV)
5Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; 6and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; 7and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. 8For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: 11for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
But do not imagine that by some magical action we come in possession of these virtues. How I wish I could get young men and women to understand that the habits of the Christian life need forming just as the habits of our every day lives.
I do not say to you that Christianity is easy because it is not. But I do say to you, do not look at the failure of others and say it cannot be done. I simply make my appeal to you!
Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ